How to Prepare for Laparoscopic Surgery

Before your surgery, you will have diagnostic tests for surgical planning. This can include non-invasive imaging tests and invasive tests like endoscopy, colonoscopy, etc. Your pre-operative testing might include bloodwork, EKG and chest X-ray.

Dr. Paracha will discuss your procedure with you, including the location of your incisions, your anticipated healing and recovery time, and any activity limitations that you'll need to follow during your recovery.

You will have your surgery in an operating room that's located in a hospital or a surgical center.

What to Wear
You can wear anything comfortable to your surgery appointment. You might need to wear loose clothes when you leave the hospital to go home.

If you will have a surgical drain placed, your healthcare provider might recommend that you wear a loose shirt or a button-down shirt for access to your drain.

Food and Drink
You will have to abstain from food or drink the night before your surgery.

You may need to decrease or stop taking blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for several days before your surgery. You may need to do the same or adjust the doses of other medications you take as well.

Depending on your procedure, you might need to take oral antibiotics at home before your operation (usually for colon surgery).

Dr. Paracha will give you specific instructions regarding medication use before your laparoscopic procedure.

What to Bring
When you go to your surgery appointment, you need to bring a form of identification and your insurance information.

​​​​​​​You should also have someone with you who can drive you home when you are discharged after your surgery.

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery
When you go to your surgery appointment, you will need to register and sign a surgical consent form.

You will go to a pre-operative area to change into a hospital gown. Your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and oxygen level will be monitored prior to your surgery. You will have an intravenous (IV, in a vein) line placed in your hand or arm.

You will likely see your surgeon and anesthesiologist before you go to the operating room.

Before the Surgery
Once you are in the operating room, you will have anesthetic medication placed in your IV. This medicine will control pain, paralyze your muscles, and put you to sleep.

You will also have a tube placed into your throat for breathing assistance during your surgery, and you might have a urinary catheter placed for urine collection as well.

Your abdomen or pelvis will be draped with a surgical drape and the area of skin where your incisions will be placed will be exposed. The skin will be cleaned with a disinfectant solution to prepare for surgery.

During the Surgery
Your surgery will begin with one or more incisions into your skin. The abdominal cavity will be gently inflated with pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2). Dr. Paracha will insert the laparoscope in your surgical area for optimal visualization and will be able to see your internal structures on a monitor in the operating room. He will then carry out the procedure, this can include removing a tumor, cutting scar tissue or repairing a hernia.

Sometimes a temporary surgical drain is placed in the abdominal cavity. This tube extends outside the body through a very small opening to collect fluid. It should remain in place for several days or weeks after your surgery.

After your procedure is complete, the laparoscope will be removed and your deep and superficial incisions will be closed with staples or sutures.

Your wound will be covered with skin glue or surgical dressing and your anesthesia will be reversed. Your breathing tube will be removed and the team will confirm that you are breathing adequately on your own before you are taken to the post-operative recovery area.

After the Surgery
You will go to a postoperative recovery area as you are waking up from your surgery. Your blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and oxygen will continue to be monitored. You might receive medication for pain control. And if you have a drain, your medical team will make sure it is working properly.

Once you wake up, you might need to use the toilet. You may need assistance walking the first time you get up, and a nurse can assist with this.

You will be able to start drinking clear fluids. If you had surgery on your stomach, esophagus, or intestines, you will need to advance your food and drink slowly over several days although sometimes you will be placed in bowel rest. Your nurses will explain your dietary restrictions and give you instructions about what to expect and how to proceed in the coming days.

Depending on your specific procedure and what was done, you might be able to go home on the day of your surgery or you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. When you are discharged from the hospital, you will receive specific instructions about when to see Dr. Paracha and how to take care of yourself as you recover.

Your recovery depends on your type of laparoscopic surgery. Even though laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, your wound and organs still need time to heal.

You will need to have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Paracha 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Your healthcare provider will remove any sutures or staples and the drain.

During your post-operative healing period, you might have some pain. You can use pain medication prescribed by your healthcare provider during this time. The pain should improve over the first few days; worsening pain is a sign that you should call your surgeon's office.

If you have skin glue on your incisions you may shower and pat the area dry. If you have a drain you need to keep your drain clean and dry. Even though your incision or incisions are small, they need to be taken care of.

If you have a drain, you will need to empty your drain periodically. Your surgeon will let you know what normal drainage looks like.

  • Don't wait to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms, which could indicate an issue requiring urgent treatment:

  • Persistent pain

  • Swelling

  • Abdominal distension (enlargement)

  • Bleeding or seeping fluid or pus around the wound

  • Redness around the wound

  • Fever

  • Nausea or vomiting

Coping With Recovery

It can take several days before you feel ready to walk around after your surgery, and you might need to avoid strenuous physical activities for several weeks. Constipation can occur after gastrointestinal surgery or as a side effect of opioid pain medications. Depending on the type of laparoscopic surgery, you might be given dietary strategies or a prescription for medication to prevent constipation.

You may also have other problems, including difficulty sleeping, soreness, and tiredness. Be sure to call your healthcare provider's office if these issues don't improve within a few weeks.

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